MODALITY

Modality is the language user’s attitude towards the world. It is related to things such as certainty, possibility, willingness, obligation, necessity and ability.

would sooner + INFINITIVE

At C2 in the English Vocabulary Profile, ‘would sooner’ means ‘would prefer.’ For example: They would sooner sacrifice numbers to save the people. TED The most common collocate or grammar structure related here is comparative ‘than’.  For example: I would sooner resign than be forced to get the vaccine. Chicago Tribune on MSN.com A search in the NOW corpus for which infinitives are found next to ‘would sooner’ would …

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verb + adverb + verb + adverb + verb

While working on another piece of grammar, I noticed a complex piece of grammar that is not listed in the English Grammar Profile.  There are many grammar points that are listed that are about adverbs in the middle position, but none about two which should be listed at C2. A search in iWeb corpus for …

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negative future + time period + YET

In the English Vocabulary Profile at C1, YET from now and for a particular period of time in the future A search in the NOW corpus for: for a _JJ _NNT yet 1 FOR A LONG TIME YET 605 I‘m not gonna die for a long time yet. The Babadook 2 FOR A LITTLE WHILE YET 197 Dinner won’t be ready for a little while yet. Little Deaths 3 …

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modal verb + YET

At C2 in the English Vocabulary Profile: could/may/might, etc. yet used to say there is still a possibility that something will happen For example: We may yet one day realize the vision of having the internet in our brains. TED And it seems like it‘s very possible that your nation, despite, actually because of the intense problems you face,  you may yet be the warning light to the world that shines most visibly, most powerfully. TED   NOW corpus search for: _VM yet _VVI 1 MAY YET PROVE 889 2 COULD YET PROVE 662 3 …

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had better

Surprisingly, there is no entry in the English Grammar Profile for the phrase ‘had better’.  In the English Vocabulary Profile, ‘had better’ with the meaning ‘should’ is listed at A2. You had better get out of this room and back downstairs right away. listen A search for collocates in COCA of: had better_RRR 1 START 82 2 PREPARED 59 You had better be prepared to push yourself harder than …

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CAN | WILL (affirmative declarative clause)

A1 point 1 in the category of CLAUSES is defined: affirmative declarative clauses with modal verbs. The English Grammar Profile examples include: ‘can’ and ‘will’.  Future simple modality is also covered here. Here are STUDENT EXAMPLES: A lot of farmers can read and write, but they didn’t complete high school. PELIC Chinese female level 3 writing class.   I will go to New York on Thanksgiving day. Korean female level …

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can’t bear + to-infinitive

In the English Vocabulary Profile at B2, ‘bear’ is defined: accept someone or something unpleasant For example: I can’t bear to see him like this. listen *There are other uses of ‘bear’ that are more advanced.  However, the sense defined above has a distinct grammar pattern: (CAN | COULD) (often negative) + bear + (to-infinitive | Verb-ing | noun phrase) Verb-ing …

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Would you mind?

Here are the most common examples with explanations of ‘would you mind‘: Would you mind if I took your picture? *notice the past form ‘took’ to be polite. Listen to the pronunciation   In the English Grammar Profile, point 83 at B1 in the category of MODALITY is defined as: ‘would’ to make polite requests, often in the fixed expression ‘would you …

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must see

Usually, must is a modal verb. You must see this movie. You must see the difference. (see can mean understand/notice) However, ‘must’ can be a noun. It’s a must. = This is a thing that you must do. There are new combinations: As an adjective: It’s a must-see movie. =  It’s a movie that you …

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may | might + as well

If you want to make an unenthusiastic suggestion or say you are not enjoying, interested in, or approving of something, then you can use this grammar structure with ‘may as well‘ or ‘might as well‘. Here are some examples.  The first is a student speaking test example: You might as well just open the door to an unknown person. TLC female Mexico B2 Expert …

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‘AS’ + pronoun + ‘USED’ + to-infinitive

Student example in a speaking test: I don’t think that they pay enough attention towards the national customs as they used to do those days. TLC female Sri Lanka B2 Point 236 in the category of MODALITY is defined: ‘as’ + pronoun + ‘used to’ to add background to a narrative, often to highlight something unusual A search in iWeb for: as_C _P used_V _TO _VV 1 AS …

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WOULD + adverb (wide range)

Let’s look at some examples of ‘would’ + a wide range of adverbs: They would eventually become the oppressive hand of the Russian government.  (Listen) What would normally take him maybe a day or something to solder by hand, he can do in a few minutes using this machine.  (Listen)   Point 234 in the category of MODALITY is defined: wide range of adverbs with ‘would’, including ‘undoubtedly’, ‘possibly’, ‘normally’, ‘personally’, ‘eventually’, ‘obviously’, ‘significantly’, …

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‘be careful not to disturb them’ (adjective + ‘NOT TO’ + infinitive)

Here’s a student example in a speaking test of ‘BE + adjective + not + to-infinitive‘ to give emphasis: When you walk, you should be careful not to disturb them because they are all below you. TLC male Sri Lanka B1 *We can also write: You should be careful that you do not disturb them… Point 230 in the category of MODALITY is defined as: ‘BE’ + ADJECTIVE + ‘NOT’ …

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used not to

The following rare student writing example shows how ‘used not to’ expresses modality: Also when I was younger, I used not to be allowed to drink coffee. PELIC Korean female level 3 grammar class. It sounds more natural to say: “I didn’t use to be allowed to drink coffee.” *In other words, she did not have permission to drink coffee.  Although now she is an adult and can. Point 227 …

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IF clause + SHALL clause

Here’s an expert example of using a conditional clause + ‘shall’ clause to express modality: Come on, if we don’t share a similar social consciousness, how shall we discuss social problems? Listen to this sentence. C2 point 225 in the category of MODALITY is defined: ‘shall’ in the main clause after an ‘if-‘ clause conditionals Long open queries are impossible on iWeb, so here we first look for the …

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adverb RESPONSE TOKENS

When you ‘listen’ to someone speaking in a conversation, you can respond with short phrases that add to the conversation. These utterances carry information and sometimes a single word like an adverb is all you might say. C2 point 224 in the category of MODALITY/adverbs is defined: adverbs expressing certainty as short responses Here is …

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